A woman and one of the two children in her vehicle suffered life-threatening injuries when their vehicle was rear-ended by a suspected drunk driver last Wednesday night, according to police in Franklin.
36-year-old Kristen Susini, a 2-year-old, and a 4-year-old were extricated from their vehicle, which caught fire following the crash at the intersection of Coles Mill Road and Blue Bell Road at around 8:40 p.m. on August 21.
Susini’s vehicle was parked with its hazard lights flashing when it was hit from behind by 60-year-old Denise Canale’s eastbound vehicle. When police arrived at the scene, Susini’s vehicle was on fire and she and her children were trapped inside.
According to police documents, “Residents in the area assisted with extinguishing the fire until the passengers could be freed.”
Susini and the 4-year-old child were flown to Cooper University Hospital in Camden and were listed in critical condition. The 2-year-old was also brought to Cooper “for precautionary reasons” and Canale was treated at the same hospital for minor injuries.
Canale has been charged with three counts of assault by auto and driving while intoxicated, along with several other related motor vehicle charges. She was processed and released.
Police have not released the relationship between the children and Susini or the names of the children.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent has helped many victims of drunk driving crashes find the justice and financial compensation they deserve in civil lawsuits. Brian provided The Legal Herald with some general information on the legal rights of those who have been injured by drunk drivers in New Jersey:
When a negligent driver causes a crash that injures someone else, that injured person may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit against that driver. This applies in cases of drunk driving and all other forms of negligence. Additionally, New Jersey is one of many states with dram shop laws – these allow people who have been injured by drunk drivers to file lawsuits against alcohol vendors in certain types of crashes.
According to New Jersey dram shop law, someone who has been injured by a drunk driver may file a lawsuit against an alcohol vendor if the vendor served alcohol to someone who was either “visibly intoxicated” or who the vendor knew or should have known was under 21 years of age.
If either of those two circumstances applies, the victim may have grounds for both a personal injury lawsuit against the driver who hit them, and a dram shop lawsuit against the alcohol vendor (such as a bar or nightclub) that served the driver prior to the crash.
If you or a loved one has been a victim of a drunk driving accident in New Jersey, you can learn more about your family’s legal options by calling an experienced drunk driving injury victims lawyer.